By Alison Leon of BFS Capital
Black Friday is just around the corner and that means businesses around the country are now gearing up for the biggest shopping day of the year.
Although Black Friday is traditionally a day dominated by the big retailers, there are plenty of opportunities for small businesses to bring in new and existing customers.
Here are three sales tips for small businesses on how to get ready for the upcoming Black Friday shopping craze.
1. Don’t just focus on one day. All the big-box stores have had Friday, November 27 circled on their calendars since the beginning of the year. They know that’s when customers expect the biggest deals and so they time most of their promotions around that one day. Some large retailers, trying to get a step ahead of the competition, have even begun offering deals starting Thanksgiving night.
Small businesses will likely have a hard time attracting customers on the actual day of Black Friday, since there are so many other destinations on most shoppers’ lists. But the rest of the week preceding Black Friday, as well as the weekend immediately after, are both up for grabs. Small businesses should think about offering daily promotions or even week-long specials to try to capture more customer traffic.
2. Be proactive on social media. Dedicated Black Friday shoppers have a lot on their minds, from flipping through circulars to try to find the best deals to planning how to hit five stores all within two hours. That’s why it’s important for small businesses to proactively remind them about deals they may be missing.
One option is to create one or more Facebook events around specific promotions so that interested customers will receive automatic alerts with all of the necessary details. Another idea is to actively reach out to a business’ Twitter followers (especially those that have Tweeted at the business before) and offer individualized sales deals, such as 20% off an item of their choice. This helps build brand loyalty and brings more customers through the front doors.
Here is more advice from VentureBeat on when the best time is to engage customers via social media or email.
3. Think about creative partnerships. Small businesses looking to break through all the Black Friday promotional noise should consider partnering up with each other, or even with some large retailers, to offer customers a unique experience.
For example, if you own a restaurant located next to a big electronics store, then you could offer consumers a discounted “Black Friday” breakfast or lunch to customers who can provide a receipt from their shopping trip. Or if your small business is located in an area with no brand-name stores, then think about buy one-get one deals or similar promotions with neighboring businesses. For instance, buy a scarf at one business and get a free smoothie at another, or vice versa.
Whatever the strategy, small businesses shouldn’t feel intimidated by their larger competitors when it comes to Black Friday promotions. There are plenty of shopping dollars to go around and many organizations that support small businesses, such as BFS Capital, the champion of small business!
Alison Leon is vice president of BFS Capital, a technology-enabled financing platform that provides loans of up to $2 million for small businesses in all 50 states, Canada, and the United Kingdom.